Well, all had been going fine and seemed great the last time I checked on the bees a few weeks ago, just before the really cold snap. Apparently I did not do a good enough job inspecting and keeping a good feel for what was going on because yesterday when I checked on them there was no buzzing or noise of any kind and no response when I rapped gently on the hive. Talk about a sickening feeling. I started taking it apart and discovered that all the bees, save for about 10, were dead. Looking at how many bees there were it seemed like an awful lot. I think I could have filled 3 or 4 shipping packages to the brim with dead ones. They were lots of bees buried in the cells with the little tails sticking out, a classic sign of starvation. After taking it all apart and inventorying what was left there is still a box and a third full of honey, but it wasn’t close enough to the bees for them to eat it without breaking cluster. It is VERY disappointing, dishearting and downright depressing, but I’m going to take it as a lesson and hope for a better year this year.
On a positive note, I’ll have 6 boxes with drawn wax to get the new packages started on this year, so hopefully if the weather is a bit more cooperative this year, we should produce a decent amount of honey. Unfortunately, Matt Taylor is not selling maple syrup or the organic scrap sugar this year, so I’ll have to locate another source. I think I’ll just purchase standard sugar instead of the organic this time due to cost and the fact that there is no food product being made directly from that sugar. Here’s to hoping that the packages coming at the end of March are more successful than the last!